Archive | November 2019

Love Takes a Swim Part 4 by Dellani Oakes

Love Takes a Swim cover smallKai and Paisley are having a chat when Cody calls him to the slide. A boy is up top having a seizure. Cody’s called EMS, but the boy is getting worse.

Kai took over, talking calmly to the boy as his body shook. He had nothing to keep his jaws from snapping together, so he hoped the truck hurried. He didn’t want the kid to bite his tongue.

“Tell Mom to open the gate.”

Cody went down the slide and swam across the pool to tell his mother that the emergency vehicle was on its way. Kai’s younger brother was a strong swimmer, and got across the huge pool in record time, faster than he could have walked around it. Dripping, he ran to the office, giving their mother the news.

Mrs. Beecher got up and unlocked the side gate as the emergency vehicle pulled up. The lifeguards had everyone out of the pool, gathered to one side, as the paramedics dog-trotted to the tower.

“Talk to me,” Thad Purcell said, as soon as he and his partner got up top.

Kai filled them in as they stabilized the boy for transport.

“How the f**k do we get him down?”

“I had an idea about that,” Kai said. “Strap him to a backboard and lower him down with ropes.”

“Good plan. Make it happen,” Thad agreed.

Within minutes, the boy was down and safely stowed in the ambulance. His mother stood by, wringing her hands.

“What am I gonna do? I’ve got my other kids!”

“They can go to the summer program for now,” Kai’s mother told her. “Let us know how he is, okay?”

“I don’t understand what did this. He’s been fine….” Her voice drifted away as she got in the ambulance.

A day care worker collected her other children, taking them inside as the ambulance took off. Kai watched it go, wondering what else could possibly go wrong. The day was young—there was way too much potential for mishaps.

The call came an hour later that the boy was fine. The heat, and an imbalance in his meds, had caused the seizure. His father came by to pick up this siblings, thanking Kai and Cody for their help.

“We didn’t do all that much,” Kai told him.

“You kept him calm and called EVAC. Fast thinking, kid,” he said to Cody shaking his hand. “I own Sonny’s Steakhouse. You two come in sometime, I’ll fix you a free steak dinner, any way you like it. All the sides you can eat.”

“Thanks.” Kai said, shaking the proffered hand. “We sure will.”

Kai finished setting up the umbrellas and flopped in a chair beneath one, eyes lingering on the pool. The usual gaggle of elementary aged children monopolized the slide, while the older kids tussled in the middle of the pool. A few stalwart adults swam in the lap lanes and the babies played with their mothers in the shallow end.

A group of youngsters, about 10 years old, came over to him. “Can you turn on the umbrella?” The leader of the pack asked.

The umbrella, and other pieces of equipment, were usually reserved for parties, but it was so hot, Kai didn’t see why not. He double checked with his mother, got her okay and turned on the fountains and umbrella. Children and adults flocked to the shallow end, grouping in the watery shade of the umbrella or the gouting fountains, laughing and playing.

“Thought you could use a cold drink,” a soft Southern voice said at his elbow.

Kai turned around to find Paisley standing there. She looked cool and fresh while he looked, and felt, hot and sweaty.

“I sure can. Thanks. How’d you guess Coke’s my favorite?” He accepted the Coke from her with a grin.

“Total accident. It matches your clothing.” She shrugged, toasting him with another can. “When do you go on break?”

“Right about now,” he said with a grin. “Yo, Cody! Back in twenty!”

His younger brother nodded from the tower, gazing over the water. Kai led Paisley to a shade tree and sat on top of the picnic table. She joined him, sitting with her legs crossed.

“How do you stand it out there? It’s horrible today.”

“You get used to it. I’m strongly considering a haircut, though. I’ve had it with the long look.”

“It looks good, but I imagine it’s torture. Shorter hair would look good.” She brushed some of the wispy locks from his broad shoulders. “Why the long hair?”

© 2019 Dellani Oakes

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Love Takes a Swim Part 3 by Dellani Oakes

Love Takes a Swim cover smallKai and Paisley meet right after Mrs. Springer nearly passes out in the pool.

“Well,” he gasped. “Bout anything that needs doing. During class, I’m on deck to keep an eye on folks like Mrs. Springer.”

“She shouldn’t even be out there,” Paisley said heatedly.

“Don’t I know it. I was against it from the beginning. But folks get a doctor’s excuse and think they can do any damn thing they want. Doctors think that just because this is in the water that it’s easy.” He snorted in disgust.

Paisley smiled. “Thanks. That’s exactly what I was going to say. I’m glad we think alike on this. I was afraid it was going to be hard to get her out of the class.”

“All taken care of. In fact, I need to talk to the boss, so she can back us up.”

“You’re sure she will?”

“Positive. Great class, by the way. I liked your choice of music. Deanna always used some jazzed up Big Band stuff that really got under my skin.”

“You don’t think it was too hip for the old folks?” She smirked, raising an eyebrow.

“Didn’t hear them protesting, did you? Good music is good music, doesn’t matter your age. Before it gets busy again, I need to talk to the boss. Excuse me.”

“No problem. Thanks again for your help, Kai.”

“Very welcome.” He wanted to say something else simply to keep her there, but couldn’t think of another excuse. He really did need to talk to the boss, so he bid farewell and ducked into the office.

Boss Lady looked up with a happy smile. “To what do I owe this visit?”

“Mrs. Springer.”

She frowned, motioning him to sit. “Is she okay?”

“She’s fine. But I told her daughter she has to exercise inside. I had to get pretty firm. She has her doctor’s excuse, and wants to be with her friends.”

“No problem. I’ll call Dr. Holloway myself, and take care of it. So, how was Paisley’s first class?”

“What I saw of it, good. I couldn’t really pay close attention, with Mrs. Springer alternating between flushed and pallid, but the music was good. Folks were smiling on the way out.”

“Great! I was in a class of hers over the weekend. She was at the convention. She said she was looking for a job, so I hired her practically on the spot.”

“Cool. Well, I better get back out there. Next class is coming in.”

The second class went even better than the first. Kai had more of an opportunity to watch Paisley, which he did in short spurts, assiduously keeping an eye on the class at least ninety-five percent of the time.

After class, his mother beckoned him over. He trotted to the office to see what she wanted.

“Set up the umbrellas before open swim. It’s supposed to be eighty-nine with a heat index of nearly a hundred. I almost hope there’s a thunderstorm, so we can shut down. I don’t like having you kids out there in that.”

“Think of all the sno-cones we’ll sell.”

“Smart ass.”

“Not my fault. It’s in my blood,” he said over his shoulder.

“Yeah, yeah. Get your butt back out there, Son.”

“Sure thing, Mom!” He saluted her and walked out, nearly colliding with Paisley. “Oops! Sorry about that. I need to watch where you’re going.”

She giggled. “I was just standing here.”

“Then I need to watch where I’m going. Did you need something?”

“Just my schedule. Mrs. Beecher said she’d have it for me after class.”

“Oh. Hang on a second.” He tapped on the office door then poked his head inside. “Paisley needs her schedule.”

“Here.” She handed it to him.

Kai presented the paper to Paisley with a flourish. “Your schedule, Señorita.”

Paisley grinned at him. “Gracias, Señor.”

“I’ve now exhausted most of my Spanish vocabulary.” He teased, he was fluent.

“No problemo. Thank you.”

“Kai!” Cody called to him from the slide. “Need you!”

There seemed to be a tussle up at the top of the slide. Kai took off without saying goodbye, trotting rapidly to the tower on the other side of the pool. Paisley watched him run, admiring the way he moved, sinewy and silky. With a shudder of appreciation, she headed to the women’s dressing room to shower and change.

Kai got to the tower. One of the other guards had the children lined up below, keeping them off the ladder. Kai went up two steps at a time. Up top, a teenage boy was having a seizure. Cody did his best, but his eyes were wide with panic.

“Did you call EMS?”

“Yeah. But he’s getting worse.”

© 2019 Dellani Oakes

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Love Takes a Swim Part 2 by Dellani Oakes

Love Takes a Swim cover small

A new woman has joined the health club as a water aerobics instructor. Her name is Paisley, and Kai is immediately smitten.

Kai looked carefully around the pool. One of the elderly ladies who was also very overweight, was foundering. Paisley hadn’t missed it either. She hopped in the pool, making it look like she needed to cool off, working her way to the woman’s side. Kai was off the tower and at the pool in seconds.

Paisley encouraged the woman to the side of the pool, asking for a bottle of water. Kai nodded to another lifeguard, closer to the office. A bottle of water flashed across the heads of the people in the pool. Kai caught it, opening and handing it to Paisley in one smooth movement. He squatted by the pool assessing the woman from a foot away.

“How are you feeling, Mrs. Springer?” he asked calmly.

“Light-headed,” she said in a gasping voice.

“Think you’ll be okay if you stand by the side here? I’ll stay with you, keep an eye.”

She nodded, sipping the water, her face flushed.

“You take it easy. If you need to get out, you let me know, I’ll come in and help you out.”

“You’re a sweet boy, Kai.”

“Can’t let you pass out on me, baby. Boss Lady will think I’m slacking.”

Mrs. Springer managed a tight, exhausted smile. Kai nodded to the others letting them know he had it under control. The younger guard took the tower. Kai sat cross legged by the pool, talking to Mrs. Springer.

Paisley kept class going, glancing at the two of them every now and then. Mrs. Springer’s color improved and Kai allowed her to participate in a limited way, cautioning her from time to time when she worked too hard.

“I know you want the weight off, Bessie,” he said quietly. “But your doctor said to take it easy. Don’t make me look bad, sugar. Boss Lady will yell.”

Bessie Springer smiled, gasping slightly as she exercised. Kai stayed close, watching her until the cool down was over and class ended. Paisley finished with a flourish, taking a bow. The class applauded enthusiastically, and made their way to the ladders or the shallow end of the pool, where they could walk out. Mrs. Springer walked with her hand on the edge until she got to the end of the pool where the pavement met the water’s edge. Kai followed her around, greeting her there with a strong arm and a PVC wheelchair. He put up an umbrella, making her sit there until her daughter came to pick her up.

“I know she has a doctor’s permission form,” he said quietly to her daughter. “But I’m very concerned. I really can’t allow her to continue if she’s going to get faint and light-headed during the warm-up. She needs an individualized program, inside where it’s cool. If you talk to the director, she can set you up.”

“Mom wants to be out here with her friends,” the daughter protested.

“Look, I’m not trying to be a hard ass. I love Bessie to bits, and I don’t want to see her do this to herself. I’m sure there’s some nice people inside too, maybe a few she knows. She can’t be out here in this heat and sun.”

She started to protest again, but Kai held up his hand. “I’m gonna have to say no. I know my boss will back me up on this. If I have to, I’ll call her doctor myself, and have him veto it. I won’t be responsible for her death. And that’s what’s gonna happen if your mom continues to workout in the pool.”

The daughter blanched, nodding. Tight lipped, blinking hard, she helped her mother to the car, talking quietly and earnestly. Kai let them out the locked gate, so they could get to their car more easily. He helped Bessie into her seat, closing her door for her. As he locked the gate behind himself, he exhaled sharply, running his hands through his hair.

“That could have been a bad one,” a soft, Southern-tinged voice said behind him.

Kai turned around to find Paisley a couple feet away. She had a towel around her waist, her wet suit clinging to her body like a red, slinky skin.

“Yeah. I’ve been telling them for a couple weeks that I didn’t think she should be out here. Today I flat told them no. I don’t like being a hard ass….”

“But you don’t want her to die on your watch.”

“Not a lot, no.” He flashed a lopsided grin, holding out his hand. “Kai Marcelo. Head lifeguard.”

“I’m Paisley Saunders, but I expect you know that.” She took his broad palmed hand in a firm grip.

“I do. Nice to meet you, Miss Saunders.”

“Call me Paisley. What does a head lifeguard do?”

She gave him a Lauren Bacall look, chin tilted down, eyes raised to meet his. If she intended to stop his heart, getting his full attention, that did it. Her eyes were an incredible shade of green, dark and liquid, like pine trees reflected in deep water. Kai concentrated on breathing for a moment, because his lungs seemed to have forgotten how to expand on their own.

© 2019 Dellani Oakes

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